Delores Barr Weaver donates $600,000 to support recruitment and retention of diverse male teachers

The Jacksonville Public Education Fund (JPEF) has received a $600,000 donation from Delores Barr Weaver through the Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Fund at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida in support of JPEF’s initiative to recruit and retain 1,000 diverse male teachers by 2025.

Research has shown that all students benefit from having diverse teachers as role models. Students of color are disadvantaged by lack of teacher diversity as they are more likely to be seen as discipline problems and less likely to qualify for gifted and talented programs.

JPEF’s original research showed Black and Latino male teachers made up less than 10% of teachers in Duval County Public Schools, while Black and Latino students make up about 60% of the student body. The Duval County numbers mirror those across the country, where the shortage of diverse male teachers is also acute.

JPEF announced the 1,000 by 2025 initiative last year and has been working with partners such as Duval County Public Schools and the University of North Florida to establish a collective impact model that can be adapted nationwide for recruiting, retaining and supporting Black and Latino male teachers.

The Weaver donation will allow JPEF to provide financial incentives for 64 new and 10 existing teachers, coaching for the first-year teachers among them, and additional professional development for male teachers of color.

“We are grateful to Delores Barr Weaver for her support of this initiative,” said JPEF President Rachel Tutwiler Fortune. “We believe our approach, which is grounded in research and data, can serve as an example to other communities who are also addressing the challenge of creating a diverse teacher pipeline.”

Fortune noted that the JPEF initiative is also looking at what other communities are doing to address the issue of teacher diversity. “We are learning from other models and look forward to engaging future supporters to address barriers such as the cost of housing and low salaries,” she said.

Earlier this year, JPEF received a grant from NewSchools Venture Fund for the 1,000 by 2025 initiative.

“We are so thankful for that national support,” said Fortune. “Likewise, Mrs. Weaver’s donation shows the local support for educators and the understanding that student success is strongly associated with having qualified, caring teachers.”